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Academics
May 21, 2007

2007 Spring Commencement

Reflections and Optimism for Nearly 300 Students

Nearly 300 students from St. Francis College received their diplomas and a hug from College President Frank Macchiarola '62 at the spring commencement ceremony Monday, May 21 at the Brooklyn Marriott.

President Macchiarola also delivered the commencement address, asking students to reflect on their time at St. Francis and think about what they've discovered about themselves and how it will help them lead their lives going forward. Dr. Macchiarola talked about when the Franciscan Brothers came to Brooklyn from Ireland almost 150 years ago and established an institution with the message of spreading, "the blessings of peace wherever we traveled, in our workplaces, our schools and in our communities. Those Franciscans played a bit of a trick on us," he said. "In the guise of giving us College degrees in different subjects and academic specializations, they gave us more. They gave us a way of life. It doesn't show up on our transcripts and diplomas, but it is emblazed in our hearts."

The valedictorian, Andrija Vrdoljak, graduated with a perfect 4.0. Andrija was a member of the Men's Water Polo team, spent a semester studying abroad at The Sorbonne in Paris and will be entering the work force as a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs. During his speech he extolled the Franciscan Tradition of the College saying that "when you give, you receive." One of the more touching moments of his speech was when Andrija addressed his father and brother in their native Croatian tongue, thanking them for helping to make him who he is today.

Andrija is just one of four students who leave St. Francis this spring with a 4.0 gpa. Fellow water polo player, Moran Stern, David P. James, and Brendan D. Welsh-Balliett also enjoy the distinction.

Many St. Francis graduates are happy to report they will immediately embark on their new careers with jobs at companies as diverse as: Deloitte & Touche (Staff Auditor), Bear Stearns (Operations Trainee), Merrill Lynch (Marketing Coordinator), JP Morgan Chase, KeySpan, Commerce Bank, the City of New York (Investigative Specialist), Young Adult Institute (YAI), and Sesame Workshop.

Other students will be continuing their education at graduate programs at schools like Columbia University Teachers College, Fordham Law School, Fordham University, NYU School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina Law School, Polytechnic University and Brooklyn College.

Several students who would normally move on to graduate schools for accounting are now staying at St. Francis to continue in the College's first graduate program, a five-year combined Bachelor's and Master's Degree in Accounting. That first class of graduate students will receive their master's degrees next spring.

The College also conferred honorary degrees on Sister Camille D'Arienza, RSM, a member of the Institute of the Sisters of Mercy of the Americas and alumnus Cyril De Grasse Tyson '53 for his decades of work trying to improve the lives of people in urban communities.

Biography: President Frank Macchiarola

B.A., 1962, St. Francis College; LL.B., 1965, Ph.D., 1970, Columbia University

Frank J. Macchiarola, Ph.D. has worked his way through the worlds of education, business, public service and law for more than 30 years, before most recently taking on the job of President of St. Francis College, his alma mater, in July 1996.

During his tenure at St. Francis College, Dr. Macchiarola has overseen the building of the new Anthony J. Genovesi Athletic Center, a state of the art 35,000 square foot Academic Center and library and upgrades of new technology in dozens of classrooms.

Prior to this appointment, Dr. Macchiarola served as dean and professor of law at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law of Yeshiva University. He has also served as a professor of business, education and political science at various institutions including Columbia University's Graduate School of Business, Teachers College of Columbia University, City College, Baruch College, City University Graduate School and CUNY Urban Academy for Management.

Previous to his work in higher education, Dr. Macchiarola was president and chief executive officer of the New York City Partnership, Inc., a business and civic organization consisting of a board of 120 leaders dedicated to improving economic and social conditions in the city. The group was responsible for programs in youth employment, housing, education and public safety.

From 1978-83, he served as chancellor of the New York City Public School System, supervising the educational program of nearly one million students. He was also deputy director of the New York State Emergency Financial Control Board for New York City, president of The Academy of Political Science, served as counsel to the New York State Assembly Committee on Codes and Special Counsel and director of the Housing Study Group of the Scott Commission.

In the public service arena, President Macchiarola was appointed in 2003 by Mayor Michael Bloomberg to serve as chair of the New York City Charter Revision Commission. Also appointed by Governor George Pataki to the New York State Commission on Education Reform, he served as chairman of the New York State Higher Education Services Commission. At Mayor Bloomberg's request, in 2003 Dr. Macchiarola mediated the strike of Local 802 Musicians Union against the League of American Theaters and Producers, which had shut down Broadway. He was also chair of the New York City Districting Commission, which drew City Council District lines for the 1991 election and acted as special referee in the case that drew New York State congressional lines for the 1992 election. He was a member of President Jimmy Carter's Impact Aid Commission, New York City Campaign Finance Board, New York City Water Board and New York City Tax Study Commission. He has been a member of numerous civic boards including the Academy of Political Science, Manhattan Institute, Brooklyn Children's Museum, and New York City Police Department Board of Visitors. Since 2004, he has been a member of the American Bar Association Committee on Law School Accreditation and is a consultant to and director of several corporations, and sits on the board of the Manville Personal Injury Settlement Trust, and Jefferies Group Inc. (JEF:NYSE). He has served as special counsel to the New York Law firm of Tannenbaum, Helpern, Syracuse and Hirschtritt, LL.P.

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City's five boroughs and beyond.
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